Fire and smoke delay rush hour commute at Grand Central : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Fire and smoke delay rush hour commute at Grand Central The Associated Press 9/14/00 6:26 PM

NEW YORK (AP) -- A small electrical fire at Grand Central Terminal on Thursday filled the tunnels with smoke, delaying commuters for over 30 minutes during the evening commute.

The electrical fire at Track 110 on the lower level was extinguished by 5:45 p.m., but caused heavy smoke conditions on both the upper and lower level tracks on the north side of the station.

The main terminal, usually teeming with hundreds of commuters rushing to get to their trains, was at a standstill, with people standing around waiting for the news of when their trains would leave.

"Getting in and out of here is usually not a problem, but because it's hot, people are getting pretty grumpy about it,' said Dennis Forne who had waited more than 30 minutes for the train to Greenburg, in Westchester County.

Dozens huddled around the each of the station's departure boards, checking to see where and when their trains would be departing from.

"It's been a long day. I just want to get home," Forne said.

-- Martin Thompson (, September 14, 2000


Fixing ComEd system will be costly Plan to prevent summer power outages to cost 30 percent more than original estimate

September 15, 2000

By ED BIERSCHENK of the Journal Star

CHICAGO - Midway through a two-year improvement program spurred by wide-scale problems during last summers heat wave, Commonwealth Edison is making progress in dealing with power outages, president John Rowe said Thursday.

Correcting the systems problems, however, is going to cost the utility about 30 percent more than its original $1.5 billion estimate for the program.

Ironically, within hours of Rowes comments, a fire broke out at one of the utilitys underground electrical vaults located a few blocks from where he conducted a media roundtable. There were no reports of injuries, but the fire filled part of downtown Chicago with thick smoke Thursday afternoon.

During the press briefing, Rowe admitted that a mild summer aided the company, but added that the utility still had a higher peak load this summer than it had any year before 1999. Thunderstorms also severely tested ComEds system, he said.

"But in any event, there is no doubt that our actual performance has been significantly better this year than last and very substantially better than the year before," Rowe said.

Jonathan Goldman, director of policy and governmental affairs for the Citizens Utility Board, agreed that service has been better this year, but said it is difficult to determine how much to attribute the improvement to the utility and how much to the cooler temperatures.

"Until we have a test of the system, we arent really going to know how well all these improvements have gone," Goldman said.

According to Rowe, the average frequency of customer outages has been reduced by 19 percent from 1999 and by 35 percent since December 1998. The average time of customer outages has been reduced by 25 percent from a year ago and by 48 percent from December 1998, he said.

Rowe said these improvements are a result of the reliability improvement plan, which has included completion of 27,000 maintenance projects on overhead distribution lines, inspections of more than 5,000 circuit miles of overhead transmission lines, and inspections and maintenance on 13,500 manholes and pieces of underground equipment.

The utility found more problems than it had anticipated and will spend about $400 million more than the $1.5 billion estimated cost of the plan, he said.

-- Doris (, September 15, 2000.

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